War Movies

Recognition of the influence of war movies is now commonplace. War movies have been more than just an impetus to patriotism and a model for bravery and courage. In the words of James Agee, U.S. writer and film critic, these movies are a “ritual dance” (1958, p. 45), and as those who have studied them understand, ritual is often the key to a society’s conflicts, ambivalences, and most cherished values. In addition, war movies construct symbols and visual metaphors that suggest a great deal about a society’s ethos. Indeed, at moments, war movies have evoked, with great immediacy, the terrors of war and, at times, have produced a cathartic effect on audiences. This entry reviews important films in this genre from the origins of filmmaking ...

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